Bernal is a bit further removed from things, and this is based on feedback I've heard from buyer clients. It is a hike to the rail lines, but has excellent 280 and 101 access. And the weather is superior. You can divide Bernal into several parts; the north slope above Cortland tends to be the most popular. Less so for the east slope, which is much further from Cortland.
Bernal has a more urban feel due to its proximity to the Mission. That being said, proximity to the Mission restaurants and shops is a plus. I'll take Emmy's Spaghetti Shack, the Front Porch, or El Rio any night.
TRI Coldwell Banker, SF's #1 Office
I think Bernal is very different from Noe Valley in a few subtle ways.
Iâ€™d recommend either taking a tour with your Realtor or on your own to explore the nuances. Each neighborhood has a little something different to offer.
As a dog owner, I personally love the dog park at the top of Bernal Hill. Amazing 360 degree city views and plenty of space for oneâ€™s dog to romp. Cortland Ave. offers great shops/restaurants including Martha Bros. Coffee (also located in Noe), Liberty CafÃ© (famous for pot pies) and Wild Side West (a dog friendly, neighborhood hangout).
Homes here are somewhat more affordable than Noe & perhaps a bit more quirky/personalized. The narrow streets can be a challenge for both driving and parking. One client refused to look at Bernal properties because he hated the narrow streets. Some parts of Bernal are more desirable than others (IE: some homes are closer to the freeway).
Then there is Noe Valley, land of more shopping, restaurants and expensive homes. Noe seems to always be in demand for both renters and home buyers. NV is where some buyers dream of purchasing but end up settling in other more affordable neighborhoods.
It comes down to a lifestyle choice between the two areas & what one is looking for in a community.